In a very revealing article, Nahum Barnea Inside the talks’ failure: US officials open up presents what he considers an official US analysis of why the talks failed. In essence blame is squarely laid at Israel and Netanyahu’s door.
According to Dr Daoud Kuttab (Twitter @daoudkuttab), the unnamed US Official is believed to be Martin Indyk]
Those of us not subject to influence by the pro-Israel lobby predicted this but were told that we do not want to see peace prevail. Indeed, we were accused of wanting Secretary Kerry to fail. I exchanged a few tweets with former UK Foreign Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt MP who specifically accused me of this.
Kerry launched the talks with effectively no basis except that he had done enough to bring the two sides together. President Abbas is always ready to negotiate, so he was on board quickly while Netanyahu committed to nothing and therefore to him, he could talk for ever.
However, at the heart of the talks was a commitment by Israel to release 120 long term prisoners including Palestinian citizens of Israel. Things went wrong quickly when on return for rehearing the first batch of prisoners Israel announced new settlement construction. It even claimed Abbas knew this would happen. He denied this and Kerry confirmed his version on a visit to Palestine. The fact that Kerry did not censure Israel or apply any pressure on it not to continue settlement building was extremely shortsighted. It beggars belief that he continued to pursue the flawed talks when Israel again announced more settlements when the second batch if prisoners were released.
In addition, the Palestinian negotiating teM resigned soon after the start of talks because Israel refused to discuss anything but its security. As leaks became more frequent, it became clear none of the core issues were advanced, rather more conditions were being imposed by Israel including Permenant presence in the Jordan Vally.
The Palestinians refused to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, whatever formulation Kerry put To them.
Abbas stuck to the nine month period set for the negotiations and even when Israel reneged on releasing the final batch of prisoners, he was willing to extend the talks subject to a formal basis for them including a settlement freeze and early agreement on borders.
He pursued legal acts to strengthen Palestine’s hand by applying to join 15 international accords and agreements. He also pushed forward with reconciliation with Hamas.
Netanyahu decided to pull out of he talks he had been actively sabotaging and the US negotiations team is slowly being disbanded while a ‘pause’ takes hold.
Repeated slaps on the face by the US’s strongest ally were received with silence rather than rage. This is not the first time. And when Kerry dared to warn Israel, as a staunch friend, that it was risking becoming an Apartheid state, he was castigated.
Poor Mr Kerry, he thought he was doing everything possible to help Israel through helping it achieve a two state solution, but he must now realise that Israel is not interests. It wants a ‘peaceful occupation’.
Once Kerry and Obama have enjoyed the ‘pause’ they will need yo decide if the game is up or whether another pitch is possible. They must both realise that talks for talks sake are futile and provide cover for Israel’s entrenchment of the occupation and the Judaizing of Jerusalem. It is time the $3 billion annual aid package was brought home. Israel can’t have its cake and eat it.